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Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

It's a common complaint; health and healthcare in Cambodia is basic at best. Here is the forum to share information about doctors, hospitals, dentists and all other health-related issues, and for Dagenham to nag us about healthy breakfasts.

Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby seidier » Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:39 pm

I'm looking for advice and ideally, some kind of guide to financial planning for healthcare costs as a single, long-term expat in Cambodia.

I'm in my early 30s, generally healthy and active but starting to notice some signs of wear and tear. For the last few years I've been teaching here year-to-year in second-tier schools with a decent salary, but not much is left at the end of the month and what is usually goes to funding the next regional holiday or annual trip back home. I have a few grand in savings but not much. It's been a comfortable lifestyle though a bit risky, obviously, but the meaninglessness of the work here has been increasingly creeping in on me. As I get older and start thinking about laying down roots here, I feel like I need to start getting my shit in order over the next few years if I want to stay here long-term, which I'm starting to think I might do.

I grew up in the U.S., sometimes having access to insurance and sometimes not, but always with caregivers who had a "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude I've carried into adulthood. Minor issues tend to go ignored for as long as possible in hopes that they'll eventually go away, which they usually do. If not, I transfer my worries into reading up on it then going out and buying prescription meds OTC or on several occasions, ordering lab tests without going through a doctor first. (Ahhhh, Cambodia...) My employer (and home country, obviously) don't provide any healthcare coverage and so far there's been little incentive to seek out private insurance as I'm such an infrequent user of the system. I probably see a doctor about once every two years, on average, and that's only because they have access to equipment and tests I can't otherwise access on my own.

So far I haven't put aside any money for healthcare costs; if I were to ever have a serious accident or medical emergency it'd better happen near the beginning of the month or else I'd be at the mercy of my (increasingly Khmer and therefore less financially reliable) string of contacts. In addition, my current contract ends in about six months and I decided I'm leaving this field to try to get into development by starting at the bottom, which means my lifestyle and financial situations are going to change drastically, at least for the first few years as I find my feet.

I don't foresee any major healthcare issues coming up, but of course, that's a stupid forecast. As I get older I know the odds are gradually and increasingly stacked against me.

So..dunno. What's the responsible way to approach healthcare planning, do you think? I'm guessing I should create an untouchable fund, but how do I calculate for how much? After my contract ends taking out private insurance won't even be an accessible option.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby rgrowden » Sat Jan 06, 2018 1:32 pm

Some things you can do, mainly risk avoidance. Your chances of needing healthcare are more likely to entail being in an accident than illness. So look for ways to cut the risk. No riding motos; take a tuktuk. Don't go out at night or early morning. Use the handrail on stairs. Don't be in a hurry. If you're healthy, work at staying that way. If you're not, it's gonna go from bad to worse. Be aware of the lack of fallbacks and failsafes here - this isn't Kansas. You get a serious injury here, you better have plenty of cash and insurance. They aren't too concerned if you live or die. Have at least a major medical with moderate deductible; have the deductible in cash or available credit. Look around, be defensive. I won't have a water heater in the bathroom, for example. I use the same tuktuk guy for everything; have done so for 5 years. He's the slowest tuktuk guy in PP, but he doesn't drink. I cannot be any healthier, and i work hard to stay this way. Preventive maintenance. Good luck; I moved here 5 years ago, and I'm staying!
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby Youn Hoo Fatt » Sun Jan 07, 2018 1:20 pm

why are you so worried? you are going to heaven right?

ah i see it an eternity of rubbing shoulders with jihadists, suicide bombers and virgin molesters.

nope i am not booking a spot in that place at all myself.
yes i had a makeover
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby Kachang » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:56 am

The problem is, there will be a day when you need healthcare, and it might be just a few hundred, but it can easily go up to thousands. You just don't know when. And yes, the odds of ending up needing healthcare because of some silly accident are a lot higher than the odds of contacting a serious disease at your age.

Either save some money (at least the yearly premium of your insurance), or get an insurance for inpatient only with a large deductible. That way you will be covered for very expensive care in case shit hits the fan, but minor stuff you still have to cough up by yourself.
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby Miguelito » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:31 am

You should be able to find an insurance that will charge a large deductible, and will not cover you in the U.S., for a very manageable price. You can pay annually or semi-annually, but consider this a monthly cost, which could be under $100 a month. And then have a few grand saved away for the "what if", such as badly breaking a leg (or worse) in a moto accident, needing to go to Thailand for surgery, etc. Factor in that you will lose employment and any incoming revenue in that case, so your stashed away money will go towards the deductible and living expenses for a few months.

Or you can start a GoFundMe when you need it.
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby Starving Pelican » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:42 am

I agree with the advice on buying an inpatient plan with a large deductible as it's probably the most realistic option given your financial circumstances.
My next piece of advice would be to stop teaching English and get yourself a real job OR train/work at something that'll give you a good salary further down the track. Being in your early 30s with only a few grand to your name is worrying unless you have (or are working towards) a skill set that'll pay off at a later date.
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Re: Life changing, seeking healthcare planning advice

Postby maven » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:43 pm

Starving Pelican wrote:My next piece of advice would be to stop teaching English and get yourself a real job


Not everyone equates REAL with better-paid. He may do it because he enjoys it, and he may be good at it. Shocking, I know.

It's also entirely possible that he may not have other skills apart from teaching.

Seems to me he needs a higher salary AND healthcare.

In that case, and IF he wants a change in career, I would advise doing a Master's degree in whatever asap as well, change careers then, or go into education management, pays way better.

If, for example he wanted to study an MA in law (I know, right?), Human Resources etc. there are weekend/evening classes offering foreign-partnered accreditation, some at low prices.

He would then be able to find a job that offered health insurance or afford a decent one, maybe MSH/Bupa/Aetna.
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